Malacañang doubled the cash incentives for podium finishers in the recent Southeast Asian (SEA) Games and Asean (Association of South East Asian Nations) Para Games and more importantly vowed on Wednesday to lend a hand to the athletes’ support crew as well. “We all know that you did not become champions by doing it alone. Several people helped you win,’’ President Marcos told the athletes and para athletes at Malacañan Palace.
“You needed the help of your coaches, trainers, nutritionists and support staff, so we will equally support them as well,’’ the President added.
The Chief Executive rewarded over 500 medalists who represented Team Philippines in the two events held in Cambodia a few months back but doubled the bonuses listed in Republic Act. No. 10699, or the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act.
Based on the law, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) has originally earmarked about P60 million for SEA Games podium finishers and P14 million for Asean Para Games (APG) medalists.
With President Marcos’ move, the total amount was jacked up to P148 million.
“To further show your country’s gratitude, what will be more fitting than to receive the highest appreciation from the leader of our nation,’’ PSC Chairman Richard “Dickie’’ Bachmann told the athletes. “Let us all remember that in these hallowed halls, past heroes walked here. And to you our athletes, you are deserving of that honor.’’
Marcos made special mention of the national para athletes, who finished fifth overall among 11 nations in the APG with 34 gold medals, 33 silvers and 50 bronzes, and Philippine Paralympic Committee president Michael Barredo.
“He (Barredo) accomplished a lot of things for our para athletes and I’m really glad to see him continuing these efforts,’’ said Marcos.
Swimmer Gary Bejino, thrower Cendy Asusano and chesser Darry Bernardo led the para athletes campaign with two gold medals each.
Gymnast Carlos Yulo topped the medal tally for Filipino athletes with two golds and a pair of silvers in the SEA Games last May when Team Philippines garnered 58 gold, 85 silver and 117 bronze medals.
Also in attendance during the ceremony were Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) chair Alejandro Tengco, Sen. Francis Tolentino, Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol’’ Tolentino and PSC Commissioners Olivia “Bong’’ Coo, Walter Torres, Fritz Gaston and Edward Hayco.
Funding for the cash bonuses from the government is taken from the net cash income of the Pagcor, as remitted to the National Sports Development Fund of the PSC.
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